I-85 toll lane reaches all-time high


Click to enlarge — Express lanes daily trip averages by month.

ATLANTA -- The price to drive down Gwinnett's HOT lanes has heated up.

For nearly half an hour Wednesday morning, the variable pricing reached an all-time high of $7 to travel the 16 miles along Interstate 85 from Old Peachtree Road to Chamblee-Tucker Road.

With rates increasing during high traffic times, the high-occupancy toll lanes are intended to create a reliable trip time for Peach Pass holders. It reached the peak from 7:18 a.m. until 7:46 a.m.

"The rate reflected the high usage of the (Southbound) Express Lane during the peak of this morning's rush hour commute," State Road and Toll Authority spokesperson Adrian Carver said of the record-setting price. "With dynamically priced toll lanes such as the I-85 Express Lanes, toll rates rise as usage increases to promote a freer flow of traffic."


LilburnLady 2 years, 2 months ago

Of course, the irony is that the increased congestion on I-85 WAS CREATED by the implementation of the HOT Lanes. Of course, the fact that public tax dollars paid for the construction of the HOT lane even though feedback from taxpayers was overwhelmingly against it as a horrible use of their money, is even more ironic.

Look for more projects like these to be shoved down our throats in the name of "public-private partnerships" so that we will not only be enriching the government coffers, but also the bank accounts of private companies.


ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 2 months ago

...Excellent points. If the government was going to install HOT lanes along I-85 they should have ADDED them to the right-of-way like the proposed HOT lane project on I-75/I-575 North in Cobb County and the Express lanes on I-75 South in Henry County.

You are also so very correct that there are more of these projects in the pipeline (many, many more) as the I-85 HOT Lanes are only the first stage (opening stage) of a long-term project to eventually convert ALL LANES of the freeway system to variable-tolled lanes.

Here is a link to the GDOT plan to the first phase of the long-term plan for the widespread implementation of congestion pricing across the North Georgia: http://www.dot.ga.gov/Projects/studies/managedlanes/Documents/FINALREPORT.pdf


ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 2 months ago

You are also so very correct about public-private partnerships being a long-term trend.

But the long-term trend in public-private partnerships in the State of Georgia appears not only to be the long-term leasing of these tolled express lane projects, but the the long-term leasing of entire multimodal transportation corridors and their real-estate parcels in the form of the "Super-Corridor" concept, if you will.

So instead of the state only leasing out just the I-85 HOT Lanes to a private company, under the multimodal supercorridor concept, the state will extend variable tolls to all lanes of I-85 (HOT Lanes and currently un-tolled general-purpose lanes) and lease-out the entire I-85 roadway along with tolled express lanes in grade-separation projects at the busiest at-grade intersections on parallel, nearby and connecting major roads like GA 316, I-985, GA 20, Buford Hwy, Jimmy Carter Blvd, Pleasant Hill Rd, Peachtree Industrial Blvd AND current and future bus lines AND future parallel high-capacity passenger rail transit lines between Atlanta and Gainesville (and beyond into South Carolina) and between Atlanta and Athens.

It's basically a long-term plan by Georgia and other states to place variable tolls virtually EVERYWHERE (on all lanes of freeways and at numerous grade-separated intersections converted out of current major at-grade intersections) and bundle those variable-tolled roads together with bus and rail transit lines and adjoining real estate parcels and lease those multimodal transportation bundles (in the form of multimodal transportation supercorridors) out for BILLIONS in return from private investor/operators.


ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 2 months ago

Three examples of what Georgia and other states plan do with transportation infrastructure in coming years:

...In 2006 the State of Indiana leased out for 75 years the 157 mile-long I-90/I-80 Indiana Toll Road out to a private consortium for $3.8 BILLION. The private consortium leasing the road from the State of Indiana gets to keep all of the revenues from tolls and raise toll rates basically whenever they want in exchange for paying all operational and maintenance costs on the road during the 75-year life of the contract. http://reason.org/news/show/leasing-the-indiana-toll-road

...In 2005, the City of Chicago leased-out for 99 years the 8 mile-long Chicago Skyway bridge and approaching I-90 roadway to a private consortium for $1.83 BILLION. It is much the same deal as the State of Indiana with the private consortium getting to keep the tolls from the bridge and road and raise toll rates in exchange for having to pay all operational and maintenance costs. http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/988 http://theexpiredmeter.com/2012/12/chicago-skyway-tolls-going-up-january-1st/

...The State of Indiana is also using a public-private partnership to finance most of its portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project, a $2.6 billion project in which two new bridges and a new tunnel will be constructed on Interstates 65 & 265 and an existing bridge on I-65 over the Ohio River and a major freeway interchange at the junction of Interstates 65, 64 & 71 will be rebuilt in a joint effort by the States of Indiana and Kentucky, which is paying for its portion of the project through traditional toll and bonding financing methods. http://www.governing.com/blogs/bfc/col-indiana-public-private-partnership-ohio-river-bridges-project.html http://www.kyinbridges.com/


Gwinnettsince1991 2 years, 2 months ago

From the Government office of U Cheatem & How


Don_Coyote 2 years, 2 months ago

Are the tolls to a level to cover the SRTA administrative costs yet? Equipment & road maintenance? Fuggitabout all of the federal money used to convert and extend the boondoggle it's just Federal money and that is like manna from heaven, right?

Oh and more on the way, bank on it. SRTA already has. The "public hearing"/road/dog & pony shows are shams as it is a given they WILL be adding HOT lanes all over the metro area regardless of feedback or their own measures of success, or lack thereof. It is real simple, as the financing arm of GDOT, SRTA has issued over 2 BILLION DOLLARS in GARVEE bonds (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle Bonds), underwritten by the state’s future federal transportation manna. What is the current method of getting the federal manna with the least matching percentage from the state? Why HOT lanes of course. Your tax dollars at work, sort of.


ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 2 months ago

Of course the tolls on the I-85 HOT lanes are not up to a level to cover the costs of converting, operating and maintaining the lanes.

That's because the I-85 HOT lanes are not necessarily about covering the cost of the lanes so much as they are about somewhat rather slowly introducing congestion pricing to Atlanta region and North Georgia commuters and steadily increasing congestion pricing and variable tolling on North Georgia roads.

They're not only going to add HOT lanes and tolled express lanes all over the metro area.

They're going to eventually add variable tolls to ALL FREEWAY LANES (carpool, express and general purpose lanes) in the metro region and throughout much of North Georgia. That includes adding variable tolls on express lanes through grade-separated intersections converted out of busy existing at-grade intersections on busy major SURFACE ROADS (like P'tree Industrial Blvd, Buford Hwy, Jimmy Carter Blvd, GA 20, Pleasant Hill Rd, etc).


R 2 years, 2 months ago

If you start me up......

If you start me up I'll never stop......

If you start me up.... If you start me up I'll never stop...

Love the day when we will never stop, never stop Never stop, never stop


ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 2 months ago

The I-85 HOT Lanes are basically an act of long-term social engineering in that the government is using them to slowly price excess traffic (excess traffic as in Single-Occupant Vehicle or SOV traffic) off of Atlanta region freeways and onto bus and eventually rail transit lines.

The government is basically going to force Metro Atlantans and North Georgians to use transit whether they want to or not by pricing virtually all non-business single-occupant vehicle traffic off of major roads (freeways and surface roads) over the next couple-of-decades.

Under the government's long-term congestion pricing plans, the HOT lanes and express lanes will have variable tolls that are priced to keep the lanes always moving at an average of 50 mph while the "regular lanes" will have variable tolls that are priced to keep the lanes always moving at an average of 40-45 mph. Vehicles with 3 or more occupants (carpools, vanpools, buses), motorcycles and business vehicles will pay lower toll rates.


NorcrossDot 2 years, 2 months ago

I totally agree with every post listed here. Of course congestion increased. They took away a full traffic lane. It was another revenue generator just like the State Patrol that sits on I85 and collects revenues. Public Servants? I question that.


CD 2 years, 2 months ago

I pull the sunroof back and salute the GSP each morning. The real truth is that the GSP presence is designed to SLOW traffic further in an effort to move folks to the toll lanes.

One REAL solution to traffic is to require immediately those involved in an accident to move off the roadway and then actually TICKET the drivers that need to be told to move off the road, but that would be upholding existing law and would be an impediment to revenue generation. The GSP is looking for any small fender bender they can find and they make the situation worse with the lights and will always block off additional lanes without cause.


kevin 2 years, 2 months ago

What a rip-off! Too bad the police have stopped ticketing those folks that cross the solid lines all the time. Do the the police let them get away with it just because they are paying to use that piece of the road? What about those folks going 75+ mph? Do they also get a free pass to speed since they pay to use.


SurelyNot 2 years, 2 months ago

Riding down I-85 S when there is NO traffic slowdown, there are still people who drive in the HOT lane. Why? Can't figure it out. Maybe the two cents charge? Maybe some personal ego thing? But the truth of the matter is, we are our own worst enemies. We use the HOT lane. So...why not (from the gov perspective). And Kevin makes a great point--free pass?


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